Devs recap: Blasts from the past
Following Lily's forced psychiatric facility admission last week, she begins episode 5 heavily medicated in a hospital bed. A beautiful bouquet sits on a table nearby. A card tucked among the flowers reads: “Get Well Soon, Kenton.”
Her mind drifts to a vision of her apartment, where she, Sergei, and Jamie are living in harmony. The scene also introduces the episode's recurring multiverse theme, so we actually see multiple versions of the trio going about their daily lives.
Things aren't so harmonious at Jamie's apartment, where he's being tortured by Kenton. Amaya's increasingly scary security chief is holding his terrified victim's head beneath water. Drowning someone in a bathtub is apparently hard work, though, so Kenton sits down and takes a smoke break.
Between puffs, he reveals he's ex-CIA and compares his methods to the Chinese government's handling of the Tienanmen Square protests. He then secures Jamie's silence by breaking one of his fingers and threatening to kill his family.
Back at Devs, Kaite's watching this unsettling scene play out via the magic projection algorithm. The sci-fi tech actually becomes our best friend this episode, as it's frequently utilized as a flashback machine, filling in many of the blanks introduced over the last four episodes.
Katie next fires up a flashback of a young Lily. She's playing a round of ancient Chinese board game Go with her dad. Her budding, above-average intelligence is recognized by her father, who's impressed by her ability to think several moves ahead.
Next, we get a look at Lily and Sergei's first encounter at Amaya. Both nursing recent break-ups, the two talk and flirt a bit. A connection is clearly made. Meanwhile, Jamie's not doing so well post-breakup, sadly viewing happy-couple pics of Lily and Sergei on Facebook. Back at Lily's apartment, she and her new beau are watching a movie before Sergei pauses it and they both confess their love for each other.
Bored of stalking other peoples' pasts, Katie dials into her own college days. She's got a front-row seat at a lecture on quantum particles. Several rows back, Forest and an associate secretly watch as Katie calls out the professor's “dualist bulls---. Following a “Are you f---ing kidding?!” she calls her impressionable classmates “dweebs,” then bolts for the exit. Multiple versions of the frustrated Katie head outside. Forest catches up with one and recruits her for a future position at Amaya.
The next big-screen flashback digs into Dev's true purpose ... and it's kinda creepy. A dead rodent lies at the center of a sort of tech altar, surrounded by a mantel clock, animal skull, flower, feather, and a sugar cube. Forest looks at the items, each sitting on a different point of the hexagonal surface, while Katie, Stewart, and Lyndon “extrapolate inwards” on computer terminals. Dev's central computer — which resembles the spawn of a crystal chandelier and the fanciest espresso machine you've ever seen — glows and hums.
The selection of seemingly arbitrary items appear to be scanned into a computer by robotic tendrils that'd make Dr. Octopus envious. Whatever unholy experiment they're attempting works, Forest encourages his team to keep going. We got a pre-credits glimpse of this same dead mouse last week, only the vermin appeared to be fossilized in episode 4.
After this tease, we're treated to a tender moment between Forest and his daughter. The Amaya founder comes off more doting dad than sociopath CEO as he reads his little girl a bedtime story. Fast forward to the next day, where Forest — sporting a sweet ponytail — sits on his porch. His wife calls, she's on her way home. As they discuss the evening's dinner plans, Forest goes out to the street to meet her and Amaya.
While they continue their trivial chat, her car nears their home, before another speeding vehicle collides with it. Devastated, Forest pulls the headphones from his ears while slowly walking toward the horrific wreckage. As he approaches the intersection where his wife's Honda was crushed, another version of his life plays in the foreground. The vehicle safely parks, Forest removes Amaya from her car-seat and his better half exits with a smile. Sadly, this isn't the version of the multiverse Forest is living in. As he arrives at the overturned car, several, less deadly versions of the accident play out behind him.
A tearful Katie watches this pivotal moment back at Devs, then tunes into happier times, when they were attempting to reanimate a dead rat ... or something. Forest and his second-in-command discuss the implications of their work. Katie poses that her boss is using Devs to put himself on trial for Amaya's death. If their experiment works, “determinism precludes free will” and Forest is absolved; if not, he's guilty or, as he corrects, “damned.” They push forward with the test, sans the rest of the team. The mouse springs to life on the computer screen, despite still displaying full-on rigor mortis on the slab.
Returning to the current universe, Jamie's undeterred by Kenton's threats. On the phone with his father, he arranges for his family to leave town for the foreseeable future. Kenton's making some critical moves as well. Back at Amaya, he's requested a sit-down with the boss and Katie. “I need to add an important caveat to our working relationship. I'm not going to prison.” He threatens to bring them both down if they attempt to throw him under the bus. He also warns Lily is still a threat.
On the way-back machine, Katie watches another of young Lily's formative moments. The future encryption engineer is at the hospital visiting her dad, who drops some ancient Greek wisdom on her: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, because it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.” Later at home, teenage Lily seems to ponder the proverb over the board-game she beat her dad at earlier.
This vision morphs into a more familiar one, Lily lying on her back, gasping her last breath. The next scene, however, shows Lily in slightly better shape, zonked at the hospital but still alive. And things are looking up. Jamie slips into her hospital room via an unlocked window. His hand is bandaged from his “talk” with Kenton and Lily is groggy. Still, the two manage to sneak out of the facility unnoticed.
Back at Devs, Katie smirks while watching their escape unfold on the big screen.